Kujou here, pleased to bring you more select previews from the Fall 2011 lineup. To clarify, this will be a quick overview rather than an in-depth article so all the information presented here, aside from this author’s own first impressions will be just the essentials. In terms of ongoing coverage, I, Kujou will bring you regular posts on Guilty Crown and Persona 4, the two anime the author is personally most looking forward to this season. But for now, we have the following among others to tide us over. This entry is for preview purposes. I may (not) continue following these in particular, but if I do I will consider adding them to the regular updates alongside GC and P4. The three anime for your consideration this entry:
Maji de Watashi ni Koishinasai!! (真剣で私に恋しなさい!!)
Cast: Kamiya Hiroshi, Asakawa Yuu, Itou Shizuka, Goto Yuko, Hyosei, Konishi Katsuyuki with Fukuyama Jun and Ogata Megumi(!) (Ikari Shinji of EVA)
Production Studio/Director: Lerche / Motonaga Keitaro, Dir. (Akane-Iro ni Somaru Saka, Phantom -the Animation)
Synopsis: Kawakami High reveres the samurai spirit above all else and injects the bushido aesthetic into its entire curriculum. With his eye on godly-powerful warrior and childhood friend Kawakami Momoyo, Naoe Yamato is at the center of this super-romantic-comedy-action-saga-epic where his love, and manhood, is on the line.
First impressions: As with any anime adaptation based on a popular eroge (read: adult visual novel), it’s wise to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism until you know exactly what kind of production you’re talking about, especially if, like me, you have no prior knowledge of/experience with the source material. However, Majikoi has potential to be one of the stronger showings this season. The character designs are done in a clean, crisp style and the cast is flush with seiyuu industry veterans to lend an air of much-needed professionalism to Lerche’s production. The first episode features a full-scale epic battle heralding the legendary conflicts of feudal Japan’s Sengoku period captured in jidaigeki TV/films. Kurosawa, anyone?
It really doesn’t need to be said but girls who kick ass, especially girls with swords, are always a big draw; and if a somewhat flashier, more overtly ecchi predecessor that also featured sakura-wreathed samurai girls is any indication (Majikoi does stop short of naming their females for actual historical samurai), it’s well-justified. A somewhat large cast but thankfully, at least for now, Majikoi seems to avoid one-dimensional stereotypes.
Continue? (percent chance of following this series): Leaning towards yes at 79%: Hopefully the action scenes won’t overshadow the show’s other potential assets. *Series Crossover Alert: Majikoi features Kuuki Ageha, here voiced by seiyuu Matsui Naoko, from Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de, which incidentally also featured Itou Shizuka, Goto Yuko and Hyosei in primary roles. In KimiAru, she was portrayed by the lovely Tanaka Rie (ref. Seiyuu Spotlight #2).
C³/C Cube/CubexCursedxCurious (シーキューブ)
Cast: Tamura Yukari, Kaji Yuuki, Chihara Minori, Kitamura Eri, Saitou Chiwa, Ogura Yui
Production Studio/Director: SILVER LINK / Oonuma Shin, Dir. (Baka to Test to Shookanjuu (ni), ef: a Tale of Memories)
Synopsis: One afternoon, Yachi Haruaki receives a mysterious, black monolithic box shipped to him from his father. Knowing his father’s eccentric penchant for collecting the bizarre and ecclectic, he rolls his eyes as he stows it away for safe keeping. That night, he discovers the human form of the black cube, a naked, silver-haired girl who refers to herself as “Fear,” is actually a cursed tool seeking redemption from untold ages absorbing curses, grudges and negative energy. Slapstick antics generously smothered in tsundere-goodness will surely (surely) ensue.
First impressions: Fear’s naked body is pretty much what you’d expect of a physical manifestation of Tamura Yukari’s voice. The moe factor is so overpowering you can only marvel at how cute she is as you mutter “Kawaii—! Mamoritai,” under your breath. The character designs are very reminiscent of Baka to Test, as well they should be: C³ has Baka‘s director and character designer Oshima Miwa. I suppose that’s enough indication of the type and level of comedy we can expect. The Baka series had it’s clever moments but after its conclusion I couldn’t help but feel there was so much undeveloped potential in favor of repeating certain jokes ad nauseam. I really want to like Fear and Haruaki and Konoha but I need more than what the first episode gives us. Perhaps I should wait until the appearance of the rest of the supporting cast before I make any hasty judgments. (Procures Pocky in lieu of senbei) *munch*munch*munch*…
Continue? Maybe, at 68%: At this point, it’s not hard to picture C³ rapidly degenerating into a half-hour long tsundere battle between Fear and Konoha with negligible variation on the previous week’s episode. I don’t know anything about the light novel on which it’s based but I’ll remain cautiously optimistic.
Cast: Seto Asami, Miyano Mamoru, Endo Aya, Kuwashima Houko
Production Studio/Director: MADHOUSE / Asaka Morio, Dir. (Cardcaptor Sakura, Galaxy Angel, Nana)
Synopsis: In her childhood, Ayase Chihaya is inspired by Wataya Arata to take up a dream she can call her own; for Chihaya, that dream is to become a professional karuta player.
First impressions: Ah, shoujo anime. After the recent glut of shounen/action titles last season (and in seasons prior) it’s refreshing to have a solid shoujo series. Like the other two adaptations, I didn’t know anything about this title until I watched the first episode. MADHOUSE is simply amazing. The subtle but potent animation style is organic and brings out a real vibrancy to everything. Characters, particularly Chihaya, glow and even backgrounds are imbued with a certain, intangible warmth.
Continue? Probably, at 84%: I hate to sound biased, but they had me less than a minute in. I know, it’s a series about professional karuta for crying out loud -helluva tough sell- but it can’t be any less accessible than, say, an anime about mahjong. I guess I’ll go ahead and admit it: I secretly adore shoujo dramas, primarily for their characteristic depth (i.e. character-driven plots), their tender approach to relationships and their overall sweetly-romanticized depiction of adolescence. Even at the opening credits, I was already quietly rooting for this one. Fingers crossed…